How to Make Hugelkultur Raised Beds

| 4/15/2015 3:48:00 PM

Tags: Hugelkultur, Raised Beds, Gardening, Garden, Gardening Method, James White,

James WhiteThe technique of making Hugelkultur raised beds has been in practice for probably thousands of years, though lately it’s becoming increasingly popular. Hugelkultur beds are created by putting compost or soil on top of rotting wood and using the small hill to plant.

Many fellow gardeners seemed to have an endless list of good things to say about these raised beds. So after hearing about the harvests other gardens were putting out, I decided it was time to test this method and see if it lived up to the hype.

hugelkulter bed | courtesy

Image by Rich Soil

Benefits of Hugelkultur Gardens

  • You can grow a typical garden without irrigation or fertilization.

  • No need to till once your garden is built.

  • This type of gardening works in a variety of environments, even the desert.

  • Improves the fertility of your soil.

  • Uses rotting wood that would otherwise be discarded, making it perfect for trees knocked down in storms.

  • Makes food more flavorful, especially fruit. Tomatoes and berries will be even more delicious.

  • Improves drainage.

Now that you know the benefits of this gardening system, let’s move into the labor part – actually building your raised beds. While it might seem like a hassle to put these gardens together, once they’re built they’re so low maintenance, it pays off in the long run.

2/2/2018 1:19:41 PM

Hello, I started building my Hugelkultur bed last year by choosing an area where there were already some stumps. I added layers of cardboard to block the grass, then as the summer went on I kept adding grass clippings to hold the cardboard down. I've already put some logs on it, but I have difficulty because, well simply I'm a 60 year old woman with health issues and I have a hard time lifting and moving the logs. So my bed is not ready yet. I will probably have to hire a younger person to help me in the spring. Our last spring frost is Memorial day, so we'll have time before spring planting to work on it.

6/17/2016 9:16:31 AM

Hi James. We live in a flood zone in NC. There is a creek that runs thru the property that overflows whenever we get 3 or more inches of rain. If we clear out the trees and brush that's growing along the creek and create a barrier of Hugelkultur Raised Beds along the creek, do you think it will also help prevent the flooding issues we have? Thanks in advance for any advice.

6/17/2016 7:37:20 AM

I make a similar raised bed with wood chips that I get by free the truck load from a load tree service, makes a lot of beds and can be used as a mulch as well. Works extremely well, but the chips will break down faster than whole logs. It is much easier than moving whole sections of wood though.

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